And Beyond, Home Kong

A fresh start

After ten years in the corporate world, I have finally accepted that it isn’t the environment for me and have resigned so that I can explore the world, restore my health and contemplate my career options. I knew I didn’t belong in the corporate world as soon as I started working, sitting at my desk was an immense struggle – particularly as my working hours increased. I was actually followed in the office because my colleagues couldn’t understand why I left my desk so much and were suspicious of what I was up to.

Now that I have finished my job, I feel lighter as if a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders. The stress, frustrations and the politics no longer feature in my life – it is liberating. I have no regrets, not even a hint. I hadn’t appreciated how unhappy I was and the impact it was having on my health (mentally and physically.)

Travelling is an important part of my life. Seven years ago, I was a recovering anorexic with low self esteem, self worth and confidence. I had been marginalised in the office for the inconvenience my illness caused and I was forced out the business with a warning issued on Christmas eve. I knew that I needed a break from everything, a fresh start. One day I was coming home from work when I passed STA Travel. Impulsively I went in and booked a flight to Vietnam, I have never looked back since. I didn’t have a plan but felt that this would give me the fresh start I desired. I interviewed and was accepted for the CELTA course in Saigon with 11 other trainee teachers.

The CELTA course is for individuals who wish to teach English as a foreign language and typically lasts a month full time. On my first day, I was told that I would begin teaching on day two of the course and I started to panic. I spent the whole night preparing a lesson plan and barely slept. When I was called up to teach the students, I started to shake uncontrollably. Inside I thought everyone would see my nerves as weakness and that I would be penalised. Surprisingly I received positive feedback on my teaching and this gave my confidence a boost. As the course progressed, my confidence grew – I no longer shook and was able to deal with any unexpected situations in the class room as they arose. At the end of the course, I couldn’t believe how much more confident I was and that I had embraced Vietnamese, putting my anorexia well and truly behind me. I received the highest grade in our group – a Pass A – I was absolutely thrilled.

From then on, I worked as a teacher in Vietnam and travelled whenever I could, I flourished in my new life. I had completely transformed from the shy individual I was before into a confident individual who was willing to take risks, and embrace new experiences and opportunities. I continued to travel on my own, meeting people from different backgrounds / cultures who would share their experiences.

My adventures have taken me to over 50 countries including Russia, Mongolia, Georgia and Azerbaijan. My travels have transformed my view of the world – I truly believe that most people are kind (unlike the view portrayed by the media) which has led me to hitch hike across the Russia / Mongolia border, get in a car with a Soldier and his fiancée in Sichuan so they could take me out of town for a dinner, gatecrash a wedding in the mountains near Kalaw in Myanmar and join a Cambodian celebration for New Years with complete strangers.

Now here I am, starting this new period on my life, I will continue to explore the world and discover more about myself along the way. I have no idea where it will take me or what I will become but all I know is that I will continue to be curious in all that I do.

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